This is in today’s Ben column:
“The freeholder board is at it again.
“On Thursday evening, our freeholder board again resurrected the never-ending chapel project.
“Our freeholder leader is trying to outrun the calendar by getting an ordinance passed with this present crew.
“After Jan. 1, the two new freeholders will be on board and they have stated they will vote against the building.
“This time, it will be downsized even more than before.
“It did have an office planned, but that will be eliminated from the project.
“This means more and more architect fees.
“Note: We have already paid $67,000 for plans drawn up.
“Yea for architects.
“It doesn’t seem to matter to the freeholder board that over 70 percent of the readers of the Vineland newspaper polled wanted the chapel to be abandoned.
“Mr. Magazzu interrupted during a public comment period to ask me if it was a professional poll.
“Just how professional does it have to get if that many people turn it down.
“It doesn’t matter that Mr. Magazzu stated repeatedly that the work sessions would not be used for actual voting.
“He did it anyway.
“It doesn’t matter that we will once again incur bond costs. This year’s capital project is next year’s bond payment and interest expense.
“Nothing seems to matter to the board but getting this building.
“What does matter is that the freeholder board is, once again, ignoring the wishes of the county and doing its own thing.
“This building is going to sit all by itself at the cemetery.
“Our county averages only one burial a week in this cemetery.
“Will it get enough use?
“I have not seen any plans for upkeep.
“No one will want to use the chapel unless there is bad weather.
“If it is used even as much as once a week, there will be a problem with keeping the building ready for service to the veterans.
“Do we heat it all winter?
“Do we keep it cool all summer?
“If you do not do these things, the integrity of the building will diminish.
“How about security costs?
“Quickly, we will see damage from vandals.
“ Who will pay for those repairs, and the energy costs? You and me.
“There is already a chapel in the Vineland area and it is not actually used.
“It is located at Siloam Cemetery.
“I have attached pictures of this chapel (boarded up). Our chapel also will look like this.
“I have a great idea.
“ Let’s be sure to name the building the Lou Magazzu Memorial Veterans Chapel.
“This way, as the building sits at the cemetery year after year not being used, we will always be reminded of the person that pushed the white elephant.
“Won’t he be proud?
“Every committeeman from all of the cities, townships and boroughs should make an appearance at the freeholder meeting on Nov. 24 to voice the desires of their voters.
“So far, I have not met many that have the backbone to stand up for the people that voted them in.
“Tell the freeholders you do not want any more taxes. Now is the time to let them know.
“Right now they are working on approving a building for $500,000. Remember, these are your tax dollars at work.
“If there is a cost overrun, they can always use their famous ‘soft accounts’ to make up the difference.
“ Also, remember that a chapel built on county land, with county dollars should be illegal because of the First Amendment to the constitution stating the separation of church and state.
“I love the vets.
“If it were not for our veterans, I might not be able to sit here and write so freely about what our elected leaders are doing and how much I am against it.
“My father was a soldier. He did not make it back.
“I understand the sacrifice my father and they made and how they put their lives on the line for us.
“I thank every veteran for his service.
“I think we should do all we can to help our veterans have a good life.
“The important word is ‘life.’
“Take care of them while they are alive. The chapel won’t help them one bit.
“Whether you are for or against having a chapel built at the Veterans Cemetery, try to make it to the Nov, 24 freeholder meeting at the Chuck Fisher County Complex on Route 49, at 5 p.m..
“Let them know how you feel.
“Hopefully, you will agree with my thoughts, but nevertheless go and state your beliefs.’’